Tuesday, January 31, 2006

BlogHer. . . and coming out

If you haven't visited BlogHer in the past few days, you should check it out, as the site relaunched on Monday with a new format that features a few dozen contributing editors on a broad spectrum of topics.

Because I don't already have enough on my plate, I volunteered to be the contributing editor for Research and Academia. A few times a week, I'll be trying to fulfill BlogHer's mission by putting together surfing guides on current issues in the academic blogosphere. I'm still building the extensive blogroll for this category, but if you wish to recommend any academic or research blogs by women, please e-mail me or post in the comments. You're also welcome to stop by BlogHer and submit the link to the blogroll yourself.

I'm blogging under my own name on BlogHer. The Clutter Museum has never been anonymous--I like to think I blog pseudo-pseudonymously. I've never made a particular attempt to hide who I am, but I keep my full name off of this blog so that it's not the first thing that comes up when someone runs my name through Google. I'd appreciate it if folks here would continue to refer to me as "trillwing"--it's not a guarantee, I know, of any kind of anonymity or privacy, but it makes me feel a bit better about the whole blogging affair.

Thanks so much, and please check out the new BlogHer.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Final thoughts on moving

1. It's very, very weird to move from one place to another with the exact same floor plan. On these overcast days, I keep forgetting I'm in the new place. Aside from the miraculously spotless carpet, an added ceiling fan, a front door that's painted on the insude, and the fact that the doorknob in my bathroom turns in the opposite direction, everything is pretty much the same. Downright surreal.

2. The last thing I carried from the old place to the new one? The vacuum. Home is where the vacuum cleaner is.

3. As happy as I am in our newly renovated, sunlit apartment, I'm already feeling a bit nostalgic for the old place, for the simple reason that it's the one to which we brought home our baby. (He's growing so fast. Waaaah!) The last light I turned off in the old place was the Lucas light, the dim one over the sink that we left on through the night to facilitate diaper changes and midnight (and 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.) feedings. Goodnight little light.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Laaaaaaaaazy

Why am I having a lazy Saturday morning?

I can't afford one. I don't deserve one.

The old apartment needs a final cleaning.
I have two sets of papers to grade.
I have stuff to package and mail.
I need to finish unpacking boxes in my new place.
My parents come into town tomorrow.

Eeeeeeeeeek!

So. . . nap? Mmmm-hm.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Parasitic advertising

All I can say is wow: insects with logos.

Belated birthday greetings

I meant yesterday to give a shout-out to my "little" sister (all 6' of her) on her birthday. She's 28, which means, in astrological terms, that she's entering the Saturn Return. Now, I'm not into astrology, really, but she's definitely assessing where she is now and plotting a course for the future with renewed energy. She had a rough year in 2005, and I'm thrilled that she's optimistic and proactive.

So happy Saturn Return, Sis. As you explore new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations, I've got your back.

Geekily yours,

trillwing

Poetry Friday: "Cheese Penguin"

OK, I haven't been participating in this ritual--even though I have an MA in poetry writing and thus know a thing or two about contemporary verse--because I was worried about publishing stuff that might be copyrighted and drawing the wrath of publishing companies onto the community of academic bloggers. But I've managed to convince myself that if I'm promoting the work of poets who just aren't well known enough in my opinion, then it's OK.

So here it is, one of my favorite poems, "Cheese Penguin" by Sarah Lindsay, from her book Primate Behavior. I highly recommend the book, which I bought several years ago because its poems' titles intrigued me. Who wouldn't buy a book whose table of contents listed "Tyrannosaurus Sex," "Chang and Eng View a Giraffe," and "Manatee in Honey"? Go get yourself a copy.

Cheese Penguin

The world is large and full of ice;
it is hard to amaze. Its attention
may take the form of sea leopards.
That much any penguin knows
that staggers onto Cape Royds in the spring.
They bark, they bow one to another,
she swans forward, he walks on her back,
they get on with it. Later
he assumes his post, an egg between his ankles.

Explorers want to see everything, even
the faces of penguins whose eggs have been stolen
for science. At night they close the tent flaps
to fabricate sundown, hunch together
over penguin fried in butter, and write up their notes.
Mornings they clump over shit-stained rocks,
tuck eggs in their mittens, and shout.
Got one, got one. They shove back their balaclavas;
they feel warm all over.

The penguins scurry for something to mother,
anyone's egg will do, any egg
no matter how stiff and useless the contents,
even an egg-shaped stone to warm—
and one observer slips to a widow
a red tin that once held cheese.
Finally the wooden ship sails, full of salted penguin,
dozens of notebooks, embryos,
explorers who missed as little as possible. But:

The penguin cherished the red tin on her feet.
She knew what was meant to happen next
and she wanted it, with a pure desire
refined for thirty-five million years
in the dark eye of every progenitive cell.
And it happened. A red tin beak broke through
and a baby flopped into the rock nest, smelling of cheese—
but soon he was covered with guano, so that was all right.
Begging for krill from his aunts' throats just like the others.

Winter: blue ice, green ice, black sea,
hot breath of yellow-jawed killer whales.
Summer: pink slime on black rock,
skuas that aim for the eye. Krill, krill,
a shivering molt, krill, krill, a mate,
and so on. And though he craved dairy products
he never found any; though he was miraculous
no one came to say so. The world is large,
and without a fuss has absorbed stranger things than this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Busy busy week

My apologies for the lack of posts this week. We've migrated from one apartment to another because of the whole flooding/mushrooms-growing-in-the-carpet thing. We moved yesterday, so of course the apartment still looks like a warehouse, with giant brown, ambiguously labeled boxes everywhere.

This weekend's task is to clean the old apartment. Fortunately, because the management plans to renovate it, I just need to clean it up enough so as not to embarrass myself, not to make it shiny and new again for the next tenants. Every time I move, I'm astounded at how much dust and dog hair accumulates under our giant couch and hides in other random corners and crevices. I've been living in squalor and didn't even know it! (Well, OK, the mushrooms were a hint. . .)

More soon. I have yet to unpack my office, but hope to do so tonight, which means my laptop will once again be happily connected to the Internet at my own desk. I also have 50 papers to grade this week (10 by tomorrow morning), so you can expect lots of procrastination-inspired entries here soon.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Child safety my ass

Lucas can't get his giant head trapped in the crib slats, but his thighs are another story. This is how he sleeps these days:

Family outing

You may be obsessive parents if

(a) both mom and dad take cameras on a walk around the block:

Mr. Trillwing:


(b) the walk produces 75 photos of child and dog:

The Liability, age 11.5:


Is he not beautiful?


Lucas laughs at a spaz attack by The Liability:

Friday, January 20, 2006

Something you didn't know about Jimmy Carter

So my MIL and SIL have been visiting the Trillwings for a couple of days. Mr. Trillwing, SIL, and I are all progressives; MIL is 80 years old and Pentecostal, a kind and mildly eccentric woman who sends "love gifts" to the Trinity Broadcasting Network and answers her phone with "Praise the Lord!"

You might imagine we have some interesting dinner table conversations. MIL is fun to be around because she sometimes toes the fundamentalist line and at other times proves herself to be an independent thinker. Every time we think we finally understand her views, she once again says something enigmatic or, well, just plain random.

Last night we were arguing about Bill Clinton and Dubya, and just when we all began to tire of The Conversation That Would Probably Never End, Mr. Trillwing, SIL, and I all said at once, "Well, at least we can all agree on Jimmy Carter." I mean, he is a really nice guy, an ex-President and carpenter who does good, Christian, charitable work, yes?

MIL informs us that Carter is a womanizer. According to her, he didn't just lust in his heart, but actively cheated on Roslyn. MIL tells us Carter is just one big bad egg, what with his whoring and his meddling in other countries' business.

Really, I need to get a direct line to God. I'm missing out on so much juicy gossip.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

WTF?!?!

OK, so I know adjuncts have it bad. But I didn't know how bad outside of my own university system. Since my tenure-track academic job search isn't going well, and since Mr. Trillwing and I have talked about moving closer to my hometown so that Lucas can grow up in an extended family, I thought I'd check out the openings at the local Cal State.

"Oh look, openings in an interdisciplinary department. Yay!"

scans for courses

"Looks good!"

verifies qualifications

"Check!"

searches for salary info

$600-$750/month? Before taxes?! Sans health care? (That's roughly half of what TAs at my university bring home, folks. And we get health insurance and tuition remission.)

WTF?!?! No wonder a friend of mine has cobbled together 20+ units of Cal State and city college teaching during some semesters.

scurries off to pour libations at labor union altar

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

This will be fun to grade

For the most part, I'm not one to complain about or, well, ridicule students. However. . .

My material culture students have papers due tomorrow. We practiced addressing the essay prompt in my sections, but the paper is a bit more complex than students may be used to writing, so the questions are pouring in via e-mail. By this point, most of their questions are honed and intelligent, so I'm happy to help.

That said, one e-mail did stick out.

The paper requires students to analyze a cultural artifact.

One student just informed me he's writing his paper on an egg.

As in the kind from a chicken.

And he added that his paper is progressing just fine, thankyouverymuch. He was just a little bit concerned that he wouldn't be able to address the material design issue, since eggs aren't, um, cultural artifacts.

More art blogging

"Proto Abe" by Mr. Trillwing, 1980s:

Things that are growing in my apartment





(Yes, that is a mushroom, one of many in my home office. Enough with the rain, already!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Disturbing art blogging

In his Life Before Me (and the Internet), Mr. Trillwing used a lot of controlled substances had quite a bit of time on his hands. The result was a huge stash of obsessive and sometimes downright creepy artwork, only a very small portion of which he has scanned. (Major themes: 1980s politics, Pete's lapsed Catholicism, not-so-repressed anger, and Abraham Lincoln.) I thought I'd share a couple of my favorites this week.



Go ahead. . . Click Father Todd to see him in all his glory.

I am the love child of Aldous Huxley and Penelope Cruz... and Mr. Trillwing is a Black Journalist

So I finally tripped on over to the celebrity face recognition thingy that everyone's trying at MyHeritage.com. I uploaded a few photos, and the results varied wildly. Here are two sets of them:

Pregnant (and apparently very masculine) trillwing:
Paul Newman
Chiang Kai-Shek
Robert Bloch
George Clooney
Herbert Marcuse
Aldous Huxley
Robert Redford
Becky Griffin
George W. Bush (eeeek! No kin o' mine)
Friedrich Paulus

Smiling (and apparently very hot) trillwing
Sandra Bullock
Priyanka Chopra
Sophia Loren
Aung San Suu Kyi
Penelope Cruz
Billie Holliday
Scarlett Johansson (this one's for you, Mr. Trillwing)
Nancy Sinatra
Olusegun Obasanjo

Lucas (baby trillwing) is, I guess, black--Arthur Ashe, Tiger Woods, Wilma Rudolph, and Janet Jackson top his MyHeritage.com lists. Good to know he also has a little Oscar Wilde in him. Not so thrilled with the Slobodan Milosevic or Matt LeBlanc, both of whom, last time I checked, are very Not Black.

This reminds me that Mr. Trillwing spent some time as a black journalist:


When we moved to our current burb, Mr. Trillwing made some cold calls and landed a couple interviews with newspaper companies in the area. But because Pete is Not an Academic, he didn't obsess over researching such details as what kind of papers these companies produced. So he reached the location of the first interview (scenically located under not one, but two freeway overpasses), and it was only as he climbed out of the car that he saw the van art trumpeting the weekly as the region's "Best Black Newspaper." The result: for some months Mr. Trillwing was the paper's token honky--the only other white guy in the office being a diabetic, cracker-scarfing senior citizen who clung desperately to the celebrated but dying art of paste-up.

Mr. Trillwing has since moved on to other pastures, but retains a love for black journalism. He's in charge--yes, from a spare bedroom in our apartment here in Whiteyville--of the production (pulling copy, selecting photos, designing ads, laying out the paper, and publishing a companion website) of a newspaper that serves Major Black Community. He also does a lot of design work for a local, black-owned real estate company. This gig resulted, in a surreal twist of fate, with Midwestern, winter-pasty, Dockers-wearing Pete receiving an "Image Award" from said company in front of a black-tie booze cruise packed with extremely well-dressed people of color. (Earlier in the evening, as we were preparing for the event, Mr. Trillwing had asked, "Do you think I can wear jeans?" The khakis and a button-down shirt (no tie) were our compromise.) Pete was delighted with the recognition; I was delighted by the sheer absurdity of anyone in my family being appreciated for their aesthetic sensibilities.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Goals for Monday:

1. Five pages of The Chapter That Refuses To Be Completed. (TCTRTBC is due in 9 days and is only half finished.)

2. Move forward on file folder reorganization: re-file archival documents from three dissertation protagonists.

No blogging for trillwing until these goals are met.

:(

Update: Haven't yet written the five pages, and it's doubtful I'll get to them today. But I did manage to sort through four women's documents, reassigning them from five big folders to 24 much more manageable ones. (I did all this, BTW, while being in charge of an infant on a nap strike.) And despite skipping my afternoon nap, I think I have the energy in me to shuffle two or three more women's documents tonight. We'll see...

trillwing trivia

As seen at BrightStar:

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Trillwing!

  1. A rhinoceros horn is made from compacted trillwing!
  2. It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same trillwing!
  3. Early thermometers were filled with trillwing instead of mercury!
  4. Native Americans never actually ate trillwing; killing such a timid prey was thought to indicate laziness!
  5. The difference between trillwing and a village is that trillwing does not have a church!
  6. If you lace trillwing from the inside to the outside, the fit will be snugger around your big toe.
  7. Trillwing is born white; her pink feathers are caused by pigments in her typical diet of shrimp.
  8. There are roughly 10,000 man-made objects the size of trillwing orbiting the Earth!
  9. It takes 17 muscles to smile, and 43 to frown at trillwing.
  10. Trillwing can run sixty-five kilometres an hour - that's really fast!
I am interested in - do tell me about


I have to say #7 and #8 are my favorites.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Because you can never read too much about breasts...

. . .I wanted to draw attention to ClizBiz's post "Boobs, Boobs, Boobs."

I don't know how many readers she has, but even if she draws thousands of them, Heather's blog is underread and underappreciated.

As always, late to the party

It's National De-Lurking Week.



(button from Paper Napkin)

Please turn off your cloaking devices and say hello.

Welcome!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Distraction and Amusement

As seen at ArticulateDad:

Five things I do for distraction or amusement (in no particular order):

1. Read and post on the forums at Model Horse Blab. I collected model horses as a child, and now as an adult I'm fascinated by the close-knit but geographically dispersed community of women who collect, customize, show, and--yes--even breed (on paper, guys) their model horses. This community is my next big research topic. Yes, that's me calling dibs. As if anyone else would want it...

2. Read academic blogs. This habit is getting to be a major vortex of my time, especially in the evenings, but it's heartening to see that others feel very much as I do about the life academic.

3. Play with my son. At 4.5 months old, he's endlessly amusing. This month Lucas is learning to laugh, and he has this terrific, belly-deep giggle. Mr. Trillwing gets him to laugh more easily than I do. I guess I just don't understand the little guy's sense of humor. Early this morning I just had to say "dah dah dah dah dah dah dah" and he was in stitches.

4. Read the newspaper. And no, I'm not talking about the New York Times or any such high-falutin' journalism. I mean the local papers. As a graphic artist and all-around old-timey "newspaperman," Mr. Trillwing publishes a number of papers for a newspaper company, and I met him while we were both working at a community newspaper named, as my friend Heather is fond of pointing out, after a smelt. Newsprint therefore holds a special place in my heart. Today Lucas, who is normally wary of the crinkling of newspaper pages, reached out and grabbed the Scene section in hopes, I believe, of drooling on "Dear Abby." And so the legacy lives on...

5. Call my parents and sister. I'm a mama's and papa's girl, bigtime. But then again, I come from a remarkably functional and cohesive (extended) family, and pretty much everyone in it has a terrific sense of humor. So why not keep in touch?

It's the Hulkbuster's fault

I've posted before on my obsession with refining my Amazon.com recommendations list. I had recently once again finally weeded out all the undesirables and honed it into a really nice reading list.

But then today I had to go and purchase an action figure requested by Mr. Trillwing. Now eight of my top 15 recommendations look something like this:



Thanks, Honey.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On being interdisciplinary

I'm enrolled in an interdisciplinary graduate program in the humanities.

Rethinking: I've never hidden my identity here, yet I've never exactly broadcast my name, either. But since I'll likely be blogging for BlogHer under my full name, I might as well provide (almost) all the details instead of being coy, since someone could discover them with very little effort:

I'm in my fifth year of a graduate program in cultural studies. I also spent a year in a graduate American studies program. Although my BA is in English, my undergrad institution emphasized interdisciplinarity. Accordingly, over the past 10 to 12 years I've thought a lot about what it means to be interdisciplinary.

As I'm on the job market this year, I've felt my interdisciplinarity even more keenly than usual. Although many of the jobs for which I've applied claim to value interdisciplinarity, I wager in the end departments will end up hiring people whose degrees pretty closely match their department titles and whose transcripts reflect a majority of courses taken in a single discipline.

On a practical, concrete level, here's what being interdisciplinary looks like for me:

• Historically, the Cultural Studies program (which is only in its sixth year) has offered very few electives, and thus students must look elsewhere for seminars. I haven't concentrated my coursework in any one department, instead taking classes in departments ranging from anthropology to landscape architecture.

• Since Cultural Studies doesn't have its own undergraduate program, I get pimped out as a TA and instructor to whatever departments need me. This has led me to teach largely in American Studies, but also English (writing and lit), Technoculture Studies, and, oddly enough, Biotechnology (an ethics course).

• I'm earning a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory, which is also interdisciplinary. (Oops!)

• My dissertation concerns women scientists working in U.S. natural history museums and related institutions (botanical gardens, zoos, arboreta, etc.) between 1880 and 1950. I've spent quite a bit of time in archives, and "writing my dissertation" really means wading through a sea of photocopies. I'm also undertaking some interviews with women currently working in a few of this country's bigger natural history museums.

• My dissertation committee has two American Studies professors and one history professor. The history prof recently replaced a Science and Technology Studies professor I had been told absolutely must be on my committee, but whose schedule never seemed to mesh with mine, so we never met. (Oops again.)

Technoculture Studies, Science and Tech Studies, American Studies, Women's Studies, Cultural Studies: Is it obvious yet that my university is in love with interdisciplinary programs?

I'm wondering how many graduates of these programs (or their related designated emphases) get tenure-track jobs? AFAIK, Cultural Studies has to this point graduated four people, two of whom—both white males in a program in which such creatures are rare—have landed tenure-track positions, one in communications and one in social work (their emphases before beginning the Cultural Studies program). Using this formula of Master's degree = teaching field, I should be in creative writing. (Fat chance of that happening, BTW. Academic research sucks the poetic impulses right out of me...)

Faculty with whom I've consulted about my job prospects assure me there are lots of positions out there for cultural studies grads. I'm trying not to be cynical about my own prospects, but since I've worked in PR and marketing, it's hard to swallow what they're telling me. The advice I've received from a couple of people make it sound as if I'll be buying a timeshare in a discipline—as if I'll vacation there, but will be doing my "real" work interdisciplinarily. Uh-huh. (Nod and smile, nod and smile.)

Sure, there are theoretical benefits to working between and among disciplines, but they're often deflated by the reality of a university bureaucracy and competition among departments for scarce resources. Enrolling in certain degree programs can, depending on the university, mean carte blanche to register for any seminar one pleases. However, it's quite a bit different where I am, where some departments lock us out of courses through requiring special registration codes, or, in extreme cases, through evasive tactics, on an individual faculty level, that ensure that we rowdy Cultural Studies types won't sully their seminar rooms. I'm looking at you, professors who taught historiography and American women's history before I went ABD. . . (That said, in the intervening year I've made some peace with the history department. See my new committee member, above.) :)

Technically, being interdisciplinary means I can apply the methods of one discipline to the content of another. That could be fun, though it does mean a lot of reading in at least two disciplines, and I never really feel well-versed in the literature of any one of them, which puts me at a disadvantage when I do take seminars in traditional departments. It also means I've read a lot of journal articles and books I don't really understand come close to understanding.

So you can theorize about interdisciplinarity all you wish, but I'm envious of those of you couched safely and comfortably in departments, regardless of whether you consider your own work disciplinary or inter-.

I'd like to be able to immerse myself so deeply in a discipline that I could blog about it both intelligently and passionately. (I admire Caleb McDaniel's blog for this reason.) I'd like to be able to toss off a meaningful post for History Carnival and have it seem effortless.

Some folks have been kind enough to lend me years of perspective and relative good cheer. Others--this week it's Professor Bastard speak my mind with great humor. Thanks for that.

But on a day-to-day level, this interdisciplinarity thing is damn hard.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New banner

I'm so tickled with myself and my new banner. Not only did I manage to use Photoshop to manipulate some photos I took, but I figured out (by looking at other bloggers' templates) how to tweak my template code so that the banner displays as it should.

Ah, the things I do when I should be working on the dissertation. . .

Monday, January 09, 2006

Two good things

First, an update on "Tease," below. I'm going to start volunteering as a contributing editor on Research & Academia for BlogHer. Even though my plate this winter and spring is pretty full, I'm really excited about this new opportunity, as I'm addicted to academic blogs and I believe strongly in BlogHer's mission. I'll be posting two or three times weekly, so if you come across any interesting academic blogs by women (and I read many of them, but not every day) or with content about women in academia, I'd love to hear about them.

Second, I haven't blogged about this, but one of my dissertation committee members—with whom I had a difficult time getting together anyway—left the university, so I've been hunting for a replacement. Today I landed a replacement in the form of a terrific history professor. I understand she's a tough reader, but I really like her as a person and I'm looking forward to working with her.

All right. . . Lucas is fussing. Must feed him and put him to bed.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Tease

I learned yesterday that I may be presented with a pretty amazing opportunity as a blogger. Nothing's been made official yet, but I wanted to let you know something bigger is in the works for our humble trillwing. I'll post the good news as soon as it's been confirmed.

Meta-mommyblogging

Continued from earlier this week:

Part III: Meta-mommyblogging

The folks at Blogher lately asked about the term "Mommyblogging"—what it means, who does it, whether the term is pejorative, etc. Other bloggers have jumped into the breach, and even though I haven't given this issue half the thought others have, I thought I'd weigh in.

Sweetney asks these questions:

• In your view, what's a mommy blogger?
• Is it a genre with very specific characteristics? or simply a term meaning “someone who has spat forth humanity that has a blog”?

I'm not even going to try to define "mommyblogging." Mamaloo does so here, and I'm happy to run with that definition. I particularly like these musings of hers:

Like the punks in the early 70's who used the tools of mainstream music to create a new sound that better reflected their reality and gave voice to the otherwise powerless, so mothers who blog use the tools created by the technological elite to give a voice to themselves, otherwise confined behind the doors of their homes.

Of course, as a mother who blogs, I appreciate the thought that I'm cutting-edge—nay, a revolutionary—rather than someone who has become so single-minded that she writes as if she and her child are the center of the universe.

For me, the importance of mommyblogging is twofold:

First, it makes women's work visible. Through mommyblogs, we learn about the sheer amount of physical and emotional labor it takes to raise a child.

Second, it enables solidarity among potentially isolated mothers. Simple interfaces such as Blogger make it possible for just about anyone with a computer and Internet access to publish his or her thoughts, and mothers are taking advantage of this development to form networks with like-minded mothers. These networks are frequently manifested in each mommyblogger's blogroll. Thus we have communities of mothers of children with Down syndrome or who face or have faced other special challenges in raising their children. There are Christian moms who place mothering at the center of their lives and feminist moms who blog about a number of interests, including motherhood, and who would probably resent being called "mommybloggers"—so I won't label them as such. There are moms who have struggled with infertility and women who desperately want to be mothers who write about their dilemmas with an acute blend of wit, strength, and sadness. Single moms, widowed moms, academic moms—some are all three—write poignantly about their experiences. (Explore my blogroll if you're looking for some great blogs by professor and grad student moms.)

Most of these mothers' experiences (thankfully, in some cases) are not kin to my own. However, through their blogs, I do feel connected to them, even to moms whose philosophies are almost diametrically opposed to my own. I'm grateful for their posts, as they help me to refine my own thinking as a new mom.

None of this addresses directly the issue raised on BlogHer: should we embrace or repudiate the term "mommyblogger"? I don't know, but I'm tempted to embrace it in much the same fashion that the gay community embraced "queer." Just as "queer" encompasses diverse perspectives (albeit most with a leftist political leaning), "mommyblogging" allows for the identification of a community of people whose voice may be ascendant.

Am I a mommyblogger? I suppose so. But I'm also a dozen other kinds of bloggers, just as a queer woman is not only queer.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

One quick note

Soon we're moving to another apartment in the same complex. Management is paying for the movers. Yay!

Why the sudden move?

Ask my wet socks.

Yes, there is water seeping into my office (the kitchen nook) through the wall, from the ground. Gotta love the rain. . .

On the positive side of things, while moving will be a major headache, the unit we're hoping for is newly renovated and has honest-to-goodness sunlight streaming through its windows. Yay! Plus, since it's on the second floor, we're hoping there will be no more flooding.

So if you're one of my friends who's kind enough to call frequently, please excuse us if we're slow to respond. We might have once again lost the phone among the boxes. . .

Mommyblogging and meta-mommyblogging

So. . . It's been a while since I've posted. Apologies all around.

Part I: Mommyblogging

First order of business: new Lucas photos, courtesy of Mr. Trillwing. Lucas is as darling as ever. You can't see it in the photos, but we're worried he's going to be a redhead. It would explain the absence of eyebrows.

I've been thinking a lot about motherhood. Of course, that's not too hard to do when you have a four-month-old, and especially when he's your first child.

I love being a mom. While some people resent that their children distract from their other responsibilities and leisure activities, I resent my work for taking me away from my little guy. I'm not sure I could be a full-time SAHM who doesn't at least freelance on the side (I need some kind of mental, if not intellectual, stimulation), but I certainly could spend many, many hours a day just watching Lucas soak up all the wonders of his environment.

And the good news is that Pete, while he thrives when he has a lot of work to do, also has accepted that fatherhood is an essential part of his being. He who never remembers his dreams related this one from last night: Pete gets a job at Dreamworks, and is being shown around the office and studios by one of the triumvirate. As he's learning about his new gig, he realizes he'll have to find someone to take care of Lucas all day long. He realizes that although he'll now be able to hire a nanny, he must quit his new job immediately and return to working a relatively modest home office job so that he can raise his son himself.

I love Mr. Trillwing!

I think sometimes of how we almost missed having Lucas, that—to be horribly blunt—the right sperm and right egg might not have connected to make our wonderful boy. I mustn't think too hard on this reality, lest I become a member of the full quiver movement, that belief, to quote Monty Python, that every sperm is sacred and, by extension, every fertile egg a kajillion times so.

Part II: Meta-motherhood

I have a frightening number of friends who have either not been able to conceive or have only done so after much struggle and heartache. After reading portions of Our Stolen Future last quarter, I'm saddened that much of this difficulty in conceiving or bringing a pregnancy to term may be the result of our carelessness with our everyday lives, with the toxins and plastics that surround us. And of course, the fact that women are waiting later and later to try to conceive makes the whole process even more hit-and-miss.

What's most frightening about this, to me, is that a woman rarely knows she's going to have difficulty conceiving until she tries to do so. Most of us don't know the chemical load of our own bodies. If women in our families have had difficulty conceiving, or if we've had some earlier illness or have an ongoing condition that makes conceiving and carrying difficult, then that's sad, but at least we have a heads-up before we try to conceive. Instead, so many women are blindsided by their difficulty in bearing children.

I will never, ever take for granted how easy it was for us to bring Luke into our lives.

On a related note, on the occasion of her 35th birthday, Profgrrrrl shared some thoughts on not being a mother but wanting to have a family. It's a terrific post that bolsters my feelings of gratitude for my own family. I wish her well.

Coming soon: Part III, Meta-mommyblogging